By (Ben Boynton)

The University of Alabama had a record high enrollment of 37,100 students for the fall 2015 semester. With that many students on campus, one can expect to find a wide range of passions, and a lot of different opinions. There are very few things that each and every student has in common. However, one common interest is a rigid dislike for Alabama’s rival, Auburn.

For the men’s tennis team, Friday’s home match against the Tigers is important. One might expect the team to take a special approach to the preparation and the match itself, but he team, however, is approaching it like any other match.

“It means more to this state than anybody, but for this team it really just has to be another match,” Coach George Husack said. “It doesn’t matter what we’ve done or what they’ve done, everyone is going to be more amped up for it, but at the end of the day it’s still just a match. We can’t make it any bigger than what it really is, which is just a tennis match.”

Husack’s players echoed his sentiments: they view it as a big deal, but they plan to play it like any other match.

“Going back to the football game last season, just being there I saw the energy and importance of this rivalry,” sophomore Matthew Rossouw said. “We want to beat them, but we have to remember it’s just a match and play our kind of tennis.”

“I don’t think there’s necessarily [more] pressure, but there’s definitely more focus,” freshman Spencer Richey said. “It’s a big rivalry for sure, but we just look at it as a good opportunity.”

The game is certainly going to be a big deal for the fans. Alabama men’s basketball head coach Avery Johnson will be part of the honorary first serve, and the first 100 fans in attendance will receive a free seat cushion. Nothing gets fans to show up like Auburn coming to town, regardless of what sport is played.

Alabama won last season’s matchup at Auburn, posting a 4-1 victory. Since the 2007-2008 season, the series is tied at 4-4. The Crimson Tide has not won a home match against the Tigers since that 2007-2008 season.

As far as this year, Alabama is 12-8 overall, with a 3-3 record in the SEC. Auburn is 9-7, with a 1-4 record in the SEC. Alabama also faces No. 16 Florida this Sunday. The Gators are 9-4, 4-1 in the SEC.

Alabama-Auburn is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. CT on Friday. The start time Sunday against Florida is set for 1 p.m.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports